Cell phone question

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Hummingbird, Sep 29, 2005.

  1. Hummingbird

    Hummingbird Well-Known Member

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    Hi all!

    Has anyone used the pre-paid cellular plans? In particular I'm curious about Net 10 and TracFone. Do they have good coverage? Is it really all the cheaper with having to re-activate your phone every so often? I've been doing some homework and the cheapest family plan (2 lines) I can find is like $60/month! :eek: We have a land line but DH's job includes getting called out for OT. The policy is about to change so that if he doesn't take the OT call, he gets bumped to the very bottom of the list so we want to be more available. Any cell phone suggestions?

    I currently have an individual plan with cingular that is up in December. It costs me 39.99 now and to add a line, I have to switch to a $60 plan. DH doesn't use it enough to justify this at all. help! :)

    Nance
     
  2. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

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    I've heard that prepaid cell phones don't have as good of coverage (signals) as other cell phones.

    My experience...We had 2 At&t prepaid phones, and where I live the phones do not work, even on a major highway and in bigger towns there are blind spots and connection is iffy. I liked that I could put $10-20 on the phone and it would last 45 days before having to buy more, but not being able to use it because you couldn't get a signal was not worth it for us. Plus, when you did use it, it didn't take long for the few minutes you had to get used up very fast, especially if you were out of your area.

    Couple months ago I bought a new card, but was told that At&t was quiting their prepaid plans. I believe cingular? bought them out. I'm not planning on using them again though.

    $60 for two phones seems to be the best deal around here too, unfortunetly.
     

  3. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

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    Oh forgot something...

    At the end of your card time, when it's time to buy another so you don't lose your phone number. Our plan let us carry over the minutes if we didn't use them all. If you forgot and your 45 days was up, you lost your phone number and had to buy a $20 card, instead of a $10 card. So you do have to keep track of when you buy your cards.
     
  4. travlnusa

    travlnusa Well-Known Member

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    The value is based on how you use the phone.

    DW has a prepaid TracPhone and uses about 15 minutes a month. For her it is a good deal. Her phone works where mine will not at times.

    The cost per minute is higher than "normal" plans, but with as few as she needs it works for us.
     
  5. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    I carry a tracfone and am satisfied with it and its ability to respond to signals. The cost is about $22.00 every 2 months for the renewal card, purchase of the phone was $39.00 about 3 years back.
     
  6. BeesNBunnies

    BeesNBunnies Schnauzer nut

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    I'd love to just pay $60 a month! My current plan runs me $80(but this is my primary phone and I can have long winded talks without worrying about going over). I had a pre-paid cell phone for a long time. I hardly ever had a signal. When you are 'roaming' which seemed to be most of the time they charge 2 minutes per minute instead of 1. I always seemed to be running out of time in the middle of a call. I've had problems with my current cell phone provider but at least I no longer have to stand on the cab of my truck slowly turning hoping to get a bar worth of signal! I also had a ton of dropped calls with the pre-paid and if you are making a call and get a busy signal with the pre-paid they charge you a full minute.
     
  7. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    When we bought our farm out in the boonies a couple years ago our cell phones wouldn't work there. We found out that Verizon is the only provider we could get a signal with. We've been very happy with them. They eliminated their lowest minute family plan recently, but we just increased our minutes and had our house phone shut off and still saved money. We were only able to do that because we got cable internet though.
     
  8. AngieM2

    AngieM2 Big Front Porch advocate

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    I had Powertel which is now t-mobile for a year before going with a contract. Coverage was the same as far as I could tell. But looking at the plans recently for a friend, the pre-paid is actually a good bit more expensive per minute....

    My Verizon (changed to match a daughters for free V to V phone) I have now is about $59 per month but it's my only phone. don't do land line, they are really a waste of money to me. this way my phone is always with me.

    But all the big name cell phone companies also have pre-paid plans.

    Angie
     
  9. Hummingbird

    Hummingbird Well-Known Member

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    Soooooo, if I find a wireless that I like, (and don't laugh if this is a dumb question! :) ) and I decided to eliminate the land line - how do I get to keep internet access? I do have cable (basic).

    Nance
     
  10. Oilpatch197

    Oilpatch197 Well-Known Member

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  11. mistletoad

    mistletoad Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I know you were asking about specific companies but we use Virgin mobile and get good coverage - I think they use Sprint/MCI for the network. We pay $15 every 3 months (that is the minimum to keep your phone number) and have no roaming charges or anything like that.
     
  12. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    We had satellite internet. It was very expensive and slower than dialup - when it worked! And there was a huge cancellation fee. It was so bad we didn't care - just wanted rid of it. Did I mention the horrible customer service in India? Google it before you consider it.
    Contact your cable company about their internet service. You just need a cable run to where you want the computer and they provide a modem.
     
  13. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge Well-Known Member

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    They use the same network as other phones, but the phones that are supplied with pre-pay service do tend to be the bottom of the barrel for quality. What phone you use DOES make a difference.

    The best thing to do is to find out (by asking around) which company has the best coverage where YOU will want to use the phone. That may be a national big shot like Verizon, or it may be a local yokel company. But whoever it its, THAT is who you want to be with. The cheapest plan in the world does no good if you can't use the phone!

    If you have several good choices for coverage, THEN compare price plans.

    Pre-pay can be a good way to experiment with different carriers.
     
  14. MaineFarmMom

    MaineFarmMom Columnist, Feature Writer

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    I have a pre-paid plan through US Cellular. My phone is a Nokia I bought at US Cellular. I pay $15 every two months. If I don't use the time it rolls over as long as I don't miss the two month deadline. My pre-paid plan has the same reception as my husband's business cell account. They use the same towers.
     
  15. DW

    DW plains of Colorado Supporter

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    Look on the internet for best coverage for your area. Some had no coverage for our area. We got my son the tracfone a year ago. We didn't get the cheap Nokia phone because he wanted the flip type (More kid cool). It has been a very good deal...just watch the date or you'll lose the ph # you have. My husband just switched to prepaid cingular (had At&t/cingular plan). Pretty good deal and same good coverage. My husband & both have Nokia phones just like the cheap one offered thru tracfone and they are good and ours are old phones. We have 3 phones for less than $15/mo. Mine's a very good deal no longer available.
     
  16. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge Well-Known Member

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    That's the right place to START, but it's not the whole story. Get local feedback. Those coverage maps are not always very accurate.

    Make sure you pay attention to whether the coverage you're seeing on the map is native or roaming coverage. For example, if Verizon shows your area as being covered, but it's actually roaming coverage, you could wind up paying a big chunk of money you didn't expect to pay. Though pre-pay plans often don't offer roaming at all.
     
  17. AngieM2

    AngieM2 Big Front Porch advocate

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    I'm on cell phone, no land line. cable modem with the tv cable company.

    works for me. didn't think I'd like dial-up.

    Angie
     
  18. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    A waste of money. Ours sits in the closet and we were only able to use it twice.
     
  19. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

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    If you can get your internet access through your cable company jump on it. Cable tv is lame but their internet rocks. Mine did when I lived in town anyway. 3Mbps+ and rarely down. Really the only thing I miss about living in town. I'm stuck with a 256k wireless link out here in the country. I shouldn't say stuck. We didn't even have local dial-up before. It is a great service. Slow but great.
     
  20. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Well-Known Member

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    I had had an AT&T plan for six years and an AT&T prepaid for 5 years. The phones are both Nokia and both work the same in the same areas. The prepaid is now $25 every three months to keep your minutes. If it expires temporarily, you keep your number but lose your minutes. I now need 3 phones, so was comparing companies and finally signed on with a two phone family plan last night with Verizon. I will keep my prepaid for a couple more months until my youngest DS is driving full time. My old plan is $29.99/mo. for only 120 minutes. That was fine until recently when my 18 yo started using it constantly. That phone has been broken for a year (cannot access messages), and in order to replace it I would have to pay $129.99 for a Nokia phone, as they want you to change to a Cingular plan. The present phone is digital/analog and the new ones are all digital. Thus the reason for Verizon. We only use the phones here and in NC PA when the guys go to hunting camp. Up there coverage is of course spotty, but we could always get something somewhere. Cingular (more bars in more places) says it does not have coverage up there. Both family plans are $69.99 for 700 minutes, so we are gonna try Verizon to try and hold onto our coverage up there. The verizon phones are "trimode", two ranges of digital and an analog. Time will tell what happens. When my phone finally dies, I will either add another line for $9.99/mo or try Verizon prepaid. The only problem with my prepaid is you have to wait on each call for them to tell you how many mintues are left and when you roam you sometimes have to put in your number more than once.